BUFF21, Film, Film Review

BUFF REVIEW: A Lot Like Life (Animated Shorts)


The animated shorts of the Boston Underground Film Festival are always a highlight. Each one brings something unique to the Brattle: some are deeply disturbing, some have a better sense of artistry than the most acclaimed studio releases. This year’s collection is no different. Below are my brief reactions to each film. I can’t wait to see what these filmmakers do next.

Maintain Yourself

Elena LaCourt, USA, 4 min.

A rather literal metaphor: presenting a woman’s grooming routine as something roughly done to a doll. The animated is limited but fitting. Our audience gasped loudly at some of the procedures, so it clearly hit close to home.

The Spirit Seam

Ashley Gerst, USA, 15 min.

As soon as I saw the old man, I knew where this was headed, but not in a bad way. The blend of CGI and traditional animation is very striking, along with the superb music choices.


melissa ferrari, USA, 7 min.

Mothman lives! Or does he? I’d love to learn more about this film, or see a longer version. The intersection of myth and addiction is worth exploring, especially in this painterly world.

For A Better Life

Yasmin Mistry, USA, 10 min.

A truly harrowing watch, but an important one. The simple animation never distracts from Fekri’s story, though at times you wish it would.

Night Train

Deirdre Beck, USA, 2 min.

Gorgeous, but incredibly short. Was over so quickly I wasn’t sure what had happened – quite like the characters themselves.


Kenzie Sutton, USA, 2 min.

Remarkably cuddly in feel and tone. I wanted to squeeze each animal.

Mother’s Peak

Simon Allen, USA, 15 min.

My favorite short of the bunch! It has a wonderful Wallace and Gromit feel, though the story is far more harrowing than they ever faced. Was holding my breath at times, waiting for the resolution to this ghostly tale.

Lilly Goes Fishing

The Bum Family, Canada, 8 min.

Lilly has become something of a fixture for the BUFF shorts, and it’s easy to see why. The giant cuddly monster has some delightful adventures at her summer camp, and the audience was happy to come along.


Santiago Castaño, Colombia, 11 min.

The environment of this short looked great, though at times the characters looked like something out of a 90s computer game. It felt like something you’d see in front of an Illumination feature.


Jennifer Linton, Canada/USA, 6 min.

My second favorite behind Mother’s Peak. There’s nothing better than seeing Victorian-era people behaving badly, especially when they’re this beautifully animated in paper cut-outs.

The Switch

John Paul Grigsby, USA, 5 min.

Another short that felt, well, short! I was impressed by the scope it managed to reach with such a slight runtime.

Screened Sunday, 3/24 @ Brattle Theatre
Part of the 21st annual Boston Underground Film Festival— keep watching this space for the Hassle’s continuing BUFF coverage!

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